First full day in Sunny Regina

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The city lived up to the moniker I assigned it when I first came here with DH in 1998. Sunny Regina was indeed sunny and not too warm. We got up after a poor sleep. Everyone was jet-lagged (only two hours, but jet lag nonetheless), and Precious was thrashing around in bed at night and just didn't sleep that well. Tonight, the sleeping arrangements are being re-organized for the best possible sleep for everyone.


In the late morning , we went to Oma and Opa's house. They are the great-grandparents of the children and they are originally from Austria. We had a delicious lunch of cold cut sandwiches, homemade noodle soup with carrots, and homemade cookies. Mr. Boy and I enjoyed our fill of ripe raspberries from the bushes in Opa's garden. His whole back yard is a vegetable garden. He said he loves to spend the whole day out there and even has naps on the swing he has set up against the house.
In the afternoon, after Precious' nap, we went to a place called Ipsco park. It is a large park right beside the steel factory. There was a lot of noise from the factory, but the park was cute with lots of brightly painted climbers, an enormous slide, where Sweet Pea got a wicked burn on her arm when she wiped out, as well as a little petting zoo and a train ride. The pool was too deep for the kids, but we've promised them a visit to the splash pad tomorrow when the weather should be quite hot.

Some play structure tires from Ipsco.

We got home and the kids finished watching The Bee Movie, then we had a BBQ of sausages, with beans on the side, and we ate outside, on Mr. Boy's suggestion. It's almost bath and bed time and then the adults will probably play card games or board games.

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We're here!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Because my husband is from 'sunny' Regina, and it isn't exactly a hot-spot for tourism, we rarely, if ever get a direct flight. Today, we had to fly one hour PAST and OVER Regina, then wait for two hours at the airport, then get delayed by half an hour, then fly back another hour to our destination. So rather than a 4 hour direct flight, we spent about 9 hours getting here today.

We're here, safe and sound. The kids are in heaven, because they are in Grandma and Grandpa's basement. Auntie and Uncle are coming for supper! There are tons of toys! Tons of attention! We're on vacation! Seriously, the kids are SO excited. And I have nothing but a pile of books and magazine and about as much food as you can imagine between now and next Wednesday.

So you can usually count on sunny, dry weather in Regina, this being the Praries and all, but as we were landing, we could see a wall of black rain and clouds, and even lightning. I reached over to hold Mr. Boy's hand but he would have nothing to do with me! He thought I was trying to be lovey, but I just thought that if we crashed, I would want to be as close to my children as possible. I'm not the most nervous flyer, but these things do tend to pop into my head when I see lightning and feel turbulence while I'm flying.

We landed and hugs and kisses all around, and all of the luggage arrived, and everything is great. Just when DH was heading out to the rental van to install the three car seats, the skies opened up and it started to pour and people were scurrying like mice in all directions. Then the thunder and lightning started, then the hail. Not golf-ball sized hail, but hail nonetheless.

About the same time, I realized that I think I forgot to apply my deodorant this morning, because I was starting to smell something funny everytime I turned my head left or right. I'd had to pee for about an hour and a half. I was starting to wear out my own personal patience. The kids were an absolute pleasure, but I'd had enough. My patience was down to about a 3 on a scale of one to ten. I just wanted to get to the bathroom, wash my face, change my shirt and add a hefty layer of Secret.

DH pulled up in the Grand Caravan we rented, and I was thrilled because I'd seen them around and thought they might not be a bad option for when we replace our car. Yes, I am considering a mini-van. I sat in the back seat just to see what it was like. I'll be exploring it later to see what it offers, and of course, I want to drive it at some point.

My in-laws have a computer, so I won't miss out on my favourite blogs and I can still blog here every day.

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A Present for Mommy

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I went to get my haircut on Friday, and while I was gone, my children wrapped up a birthday present for me. The kids thought it was really my birthday even though it was just the night my friend Sylvie and got together to celebrate my birthday. My birthday was a couple of months ago.

I got back from the hair place and they had a beautifully wrapped (with Christmas wrap) present waiting, with a hand-drawn card.

I opened the card,
unwrapped the present,
and found some delightful objects from around the house,
including a bracelet, some Post-It notes, a paint brush, an apple and a Tupperware container of water, which had leaked.

Mr. Boy wrapped up one of his books and gave it to my mom once. She keeps it at her place for when he comes to visit. The kids do things like this for people all the time and it is so cute to me. More often than not, their gifts include an apple and plenty of Tupperware.

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Vacation Starts Today!

Monday, July 28, 2008

DH started his vacation on Friday at 5:00 p.m. and today is the first 'real' day off. We aren't leaving for Regina until Wednesday morning, so we have two days to do whatever we want. Well, actually, we still have to clean the house, pack, take Mr. Boy for his 6-year checkup, go to the library, and DH is currently taking his motorcycle license test.

About five years ago, DH got his first motorcycle. Don't most men sell their motorcycles when their first child is born? There is a graduated licensing system here so he had certain restrictions on him when he first started driving, as I believe all he had to do was pass a written test to get the first license. He's going for the 'big' one now and he'll have the examiner following him in a car, DH with an ear piece to hear the examiner's instructions. If DH fails the test, he can re-write the M1 test and then he'd have restrictions on him again, like not being able to drive at night. If he failed the written test, he'd have to leave his motorcycle at the test centre and take a cab home. I'm sure he'll pass, but he's quite nervous.

In other news, I figured out a way to get down the aloe vera juice. A quarter cup is only 4 tbsp., so I just took the juice one tablespoon at a time. The flavour isn't that bad, now that I got the unflavoured kind. I gagged on tablespoons 2 and 4. This stuff is so viscous that I ended up having to take a fifth spoonful to compensate for all of the stuff stuck to the bottom of the spoon.

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Girls' Weekend

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Being a SAHM has its challenges. One of those is not getting enough adult time. Another is being constantly vigilant. Feeding them healthy food. Making sure they're safe. Stopping them from killing each other.

So imagine my delight when Nicki from my winter (indoor) soccer team invited me, along with the rest of Dory's Crew, to her cottage for the weekend. Eight of us in all were there, and the cottage was nearby, rustic and scenic. We left the city first thing on Saturday morning and spent the day relaxing, swimming, reading, playing poker and riding on the pontoon boat. In the evening, we had a BBQ of kebabs, delicious salads, and not like we needed anymore to eat, desserts too. The beverages were flowing freely and we had a bonfire by the water and Nicki's son set off amazing fireworks. I was all camera-ed out by that point so didn't take any night shots.

The wild raspberries were almost ready for picking. We managed to find a few ripe ones.
Gorgeous sky photo taken from the pontoon boat.Deb and Beth hamming it up for the camera.

Thanks Nicki for hosting this memorable weekend!

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New Haircut

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I was feeling a little on the dowdy side with my crappy hairstyle. I never spend longer styling my hair than the time it takes to boil the kettle. I hated my hair but wasn't putting any time into it. So, I decided to see Jamie, my new stylist at the Spa near my place. I've seen her once before and she transformed me into a goddess, or at least a SAHM suburban version of a goddess (see my profile pic).

So I was waffling between getting my hair cut really short (read: pixie cut), or keeping it long and spending more than three minutes on it in the morning. I decided that since I had spent 2 years growing out my hair, that I should take advantage and turn myself into the Jessica Biel/Drew Barrymore/Renee Russo look-a-like I used to be told I was.

I got home from the stylist, and my bangs were already annoying me, so I pinned them back, as I am wont to do, and asked DH to take my picture. The northern sun was coming in the office window, and I stood against the wall (buckhorn from Benjamin Moore) and he just took a couple of pics and I actually liked them! I lightened them a little, and tried to remove the colour cast, but I couldn't figure out how. Then I did Jessica Sprague's shazam technique (adding a screen and overlay layer over the photo). It looks like I burned the edges of the photo and did some cool lighting, but it was just a point and shoot. Man, do I ever love my now Canon Rebel XTi! I couldn't figure out how to remove the colour cast (northern light), but I like the composition and the the way the background turned out. And my hair isn't bad either. Good job DH and Jamie!

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I was so frustrated, I broke my tooth

Friday, July 25, 2008

Last week I was eating my lunch (quiche) outside with the girls, while waiting for Mr. Boy to come out of camp. I felt what I thought was something clinging to my tooth and realized it was a part of my tooth that was about to break off. I was thinking "If my teeth are breaking off and I haven't even hit 40, what's my mouth going to look like by 70?" So I was a bit depressed/annoyed by this happening, not to mention the fact that it meant I would need to find a babysitter so I could get into the dentist a.s.a.p., especially since what was left of my tooth was jagged, which hurt my tongue, and was also a prime location for decay.

I got into the dentist a few days later, and my mom generously offered to babysit. The dentist wondered what could have caused the break, and for the life of me, I could not figure it out. I was eating EGGS for pete's sake! The kind dentist filled my tooth, and it was paid 80% by insurance, so no major harm done. The break was mostly on the back of my tooth, so the filling isn't visible either. All in all, I got off easy.

Yesterday, I got particularly frustrated with Sweet Pea. I was lying down with Precious, helping her fall asleep for her afternoon nap. Sweet Pea came up into the room they share and said in a loud voice "I'm still hungry Mommy". This after she had a bigger than usual lunch, but I digress. I sent Sweet Pea back downstairs, Precious laid back down and seemed to be drifting off again. About 3 minutes later, Mr. Boy and Sweet Pea had some sort of altercation downstairs and Sweet Pea started bawling at the top of her lungs. Precious was upset and kept holding a finger over her lips and saying "shhh". I wanted to yell downstairs "be quiet" but thought that yelling that was kind of counterintuitive. Long story short, Precious did not have a nap, even though she was almost asleep, so you can imagine her (and my) mood for the rest of the day.

To get back to my point, I got kind of frustrated at this and gritted my teeth and felt a new sensation. It was my filling! On my recently broken tooth! I deduced that my (unfortunately) frequent tooth gritting had caused my tooth to break. I think I really need to learn how to relax.

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Yuck!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Unless you absolutely HAVE too, never, never, never drink Aloe Vera Juice. The word 'drinkable' appears on the side of the bottle, only because, strictly speaking, you can drink it. Just like phlegm, vomit, battery acid, paint, and other fluids are 'drinkable'. You can swallow them, but do you really want to?

I don't know how I'm going to get down my 1/4 cup dose tomorrow. Any ideas? I'm not supposed to take it with food, but I don't know how else to do it. Brave DH took a teaspoon just to see what I was raving about. He agreed that 'tasty' or 'enjoyable' were not words that sprang to mind.

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DH Did It Too!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I guess he got tired of hearing me talk about my blog, so DH has got his own! I'm very excited for him and I love hearing his written 'voice'.

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Ropey Small Intestine?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I was back to the naturopath today for her to see how the herbs I was taking were working out. She asked about my digestion, energy and mood. I think there have been minor improvements. She listened to my gut with a stethoscope and prodded it with her hands. She told me that rather than being soft and supple, my small intestine was hard, cramped and "ropey". Imagine my surprise to hear that my intestine was like a rope! She prescribed aloe vera. Doesn't sound too bad until you hear that I have to drink it! I'll let you know how it goes once I get some. Apparently it is the texture more than the taste that is repulsive. I can't wait.
The back yard of the naturopath's office. It's rustic and pretty.
What remains of the parking lot barriers. Maybe the rope should have been foreshadowing for my visit?!

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More Camping Fun

Monday, July 21, 2008

Just a few more pics from the camping trip. It was 3 sets of neighbours from my street and each of us invited another family. There were 11 adults and a whopping 15 kids, with the oldest child being 12 and the youngest being 2.
Some of the kids from the camping trip with Mr. Boy and Sweet Pea in the front row.

Mr. Boy chillaxin' in his camp chair


Almost sundown on our waterfront site.
Precious played in the sand for hours and hours in her new polka dot bathing suit. The last thing she needed was a new bathing suit, but this one was just the right style for her, not a hand-me-down, so adorable, and only $7 at the grocery store.

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Camping was such fun

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A torrential downpour on Friday night sent us all scurrying to our tents. Luckily we put our tent in a high and dry location, and we only had a minor leak. The weather on Saturday was perfect and we headed to the little beach near our site for the morning. After lunch, we all went down the main beach and enjoyed the sunshine.

It had rained so much over the week and the day we arrived that there were a few mud puddles that just wouldn't go away. Notice DH's footprint in here? He lost his flip flop in the mud puddle while carrying a friend's child. He managed to hang on to the child, and had to dig around in the dark looking for his shoe.
Sunday, they were calling for showers, so we packed up the dining tent and most of the other tent and headed to the little beach for a bit. After lunch, we packed up the rest and headed home and it started raining on the windshield about half way back.

Twenty trips unloading the car, five loads of laundry, and a desperately needed bath for the kids, and we were all back to normal by Sunday at supper time. We're already planning another trip for this summer as Precious was a dream to camp with, despite our misgivings heading out.

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Perspective Rules

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I've been enjoying Bloggywood a lot and looking around at other people's blogs. I keep coming back to Mommy Pie because she's funny, even if I don't agree that she should drive and shoot video at the same time.

Call me naïve, but I don't know who's popular or famous Bloggywood. I've heard bloggers alluding to other bloggers who get obscene numbers of comments and who never reply to anyone. I'm wondering if Pioneer Woman qualifies.

Apparently there is a blog Conference in San Francisco (San Diego?) this weekend called BlogHer. In response, Mommy Pie is hosting a virtual conference called BlogherNot '08. She commissioned entries to the conference from some of her blog friends and I read them all. The one from Sandiego Momma really hit home. The other day, when I was getting a little frustrated because my blog hadn't yet developed a huge following or caused publishers to knock down my door looking to turn my blog into a bestselling book ;-), I went through the things she listed. I'm glad to see that at least I am not alone in this.

I'll be camping this weekend but Saturday night, when I'm out in the 'wilderness', I'll raise my glass in honour of my fellow mom bloggers. Here's hoping we all develop huge followings and get 6-figure advances.

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One Man's Poison is Another Man's Pleasure

Friday, July 18, 2008

My mom has some pretty good sayings. I've mentioned a few before, but she also used to say 'the squeaky wheel gets the grease' and 'one man's poison is another man's pleasure'. The first expression was used to provoke us into telling her (and others) what we wanted. The second probably referred to alcohol, but my mom used it when she wanted to convey that not everyone has the same taste or needs the same things.

I remember back when I was little, and we didn't have home garbage collection because we lived in the country. We used to burn our garbage or take things to the dump. I remember burning one of those Tupperware spoon rests that you keep on your stove, and how I was able to coat the end of a stick with it. Cool but toxic!

We would go to the dump in my dad's diesel Toyota pickup truck and one time as we were dropping something off, I noticed an old desk, in the style of the old school houses, where the arm turned into the writing surface, and there was a drawer under the seat. I can't remember if there was an inkwell holder or not. I wanted to take the desk home, but my mom made me ask my dad. (The squeaky wheel gets the grease). We took it home and painted it and used it for many years until we sold it in a garage sale. (One man's poison is another man's pleasure.)

Just the first in a long succession of DIY projects!

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Things to Do

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I've been running myself ragged the last few days. My mom's birthday is tomorrow and I needed to get her gift, and the two older kids are in separate camps, and Precious had speech therapy, and I had an appointment with the chiropractor, and the other two have had a few playdates, etc, etc. So I've been driving around a lot the last four days.

The grass needs cutting and the kitchen's a mess and I have an item being held at the library, and we're going camping tomorrow and don't have a menu or groceries yet, but I'd much rather be here with you, blogging.

Do you have a To Do list? I don't think I've been without one for about 10 years, or more. As soon as one thing is done, there is another thing to take its place. On my To Do list right now, besides the things I mentioned off the top, are; planning our summer vacation to Toronto, booking service on the car, installing the new rain barrel I got for my birthday, preparing an entry for a kitchen makeover contest, researching webinars for my project management professional certification continuing education credits, calling the landscaper to fix the front walkway, getting linseed oil for my new deck box and finishing Precious' quilt (that I started almost 2 years ago!).
I got the girls' hair cut yesterday but thought I would include this cute photo of Precious a few months ago, when her hair was a bit longer. She had ponytails in her hair for under 5 minutes. She generally hates anything in her hair.

I'm expecting an email from the green contractor today so I'll be waiting with bated breath! Log on tomorrow to find out if he has dashed or raised my hopes!

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Date Night

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tonight was date night with DH. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing. Around noon, I started thinking that getting out, just the two of us, might be a good idea. I called my brother at work and he obliged by saying he could come over after work. We put the kids to bed at 7:15ish and they were so tired, the all fell asleep right away. We left my brother here to supervise while we headed to the Chapter/Starbuck's nearby.

DH and I had a nice conversation and drank some coffee (DH) and tea (me). We browsed our favourite book sections (separately). My favourite sections are Entertaining, Health and Fitness, Interior Design, and Crafts. It was so much fun. I saw one woman barely able to hold all the books she was buying and wondered "Is she made of money?" I usually see a book I like at Chapter's, then come home and reserve it from the library. Once in a while, I will actually buy one. I also love the cards, stationary, journals, and all the office supplies they have at the store. They are so fashionable!

DH and I both had trouble sleeping last night. I wonder if the evening caffeine injection had anything to do with it?

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Media Junkies

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My kids love to watch t.v. And I let them. They'd watch all day if they could. Sometimes as a treat, we'll watch a movie. I'll borrow them from the library, and last time we were there, they had A Bug's Life. My brother babysat the kids last Friday night so I gave it to him to keep them busy until bedtime. Ever since, Sweet Pea's drawings of people have all had curly antennae. So cute! BTW, she used Crayola Window Writers to draw on the glass of the dining room windows.
I'm starting to become a bit of a media junkie myself, but not for t.v. It is for other people's blogs, especially mom blogs and photography blogs. I subscribe to a bunch of blogs now, and the photography that some people do is incredible. And they are Photoshop geniuses. I usually take kid photos, but the photography at Daily Dose of Imagery is unbelievable. I told DH that it was better when I was just blogging and not looking around too much. Now, I'm starting to get an inferiority complex. Are my photos nice enough? Should I spend more time sprucing them up before posting them?

It's not as though thousands (or even hundreds, or even 'ten's) of people are reading this, but how does one get a following anyway? I went to Pioneer Woman's website, and she had over 1400 comments on ONE of her posts! I have never seen anything like that before. DH tried to console me by telling me that it is probably her profession and she is doing it full-time, but I corrected him as I read that she home schools her four children. She has some great photography tips, BTW. Really great.

I'm looking for a little focus. I'm blogging to connect to people. I'm blogging as therapy. I'm blogging to share photos. I guess I'm even hoping to inspire people a little, as I am inspired by others every day.

Just my navel-gazing for today.

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Be Careful What You Wish For!

Monday, July 14, 2008

When my son was born, 6 years ago, I knew that I would have more children, so I kept thinking of how I could try to be fair to them all. I now realize that this was a foolhardy pursuit, but at the time, that was my thinking. I tried not to sign him up for too many things, or felt guilty doing it, knowing his younger siblings would never have the same luxury, due to time, logistics or money. I also encouraged him to play on his own, to the point that he would play by himself for 45 minutes at a time sometimes, when he was just 8 or 9 months old!

As our family grew, I didn't have as much time for Mr. Boy, or Sweet Pea, in turn. The youngest child always seems to need the most attention. Precious gets a lot of my time now. In fact, yesterday, Mr. Boy and Sweet Pea played together for the whole afternoon without needing adult intervention.

At one point, DH was looking at the two of them playing together, and Mr. Boy looked up and said "Stop looking at me". I've noticed that I have to ask Mr. Boy for a kiss now, rather than be offered one, and Mr. Boy would much rather play with his friends or his sister than with me. Most of the time that is. I still get to have my snuggly little boy from time to time, but it is on his schedule, not mine.

After years of trying to encourage this independence in my children, I am starting to regret it, just the tiniest bit. I think they're turning out great, but they don't need me as much as they used to. On the one hand, it was overwhelming at times, but now I'm starting to feel nostalgia for the affection I used to get, as well as their perception of me as perfect. They are being influenced by so many other adults now, they are rightly starting to question my authority. Plus, there has been more than one occasion where my answer has been "Let's go look that up together." I definitely don't have all of the answers.

When I'm too busy or distracted to spend time with the kids, I'll try to remember that they probably won't want to spend time with me forever. It's starting already and I'm sure it will get much worse when they're teenagers. I want to cherish the daily interactions that I love so much.

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Just One More

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I haven't spent much time in my garden this summer. It rained for most of June. My peonies finally bloomed one weekend in June, and two days later, a torrential rainstorm all but destroyed the blooms. My allium bulbs started to grow leaves and the blooms were forming, and about a week later, I looked and they were gone. They poked their heads up, looked around and changed their minds! On the other hand, the weeds are thriving, in this, year 5 of our organic lawn!

A few of my perennials are nicer than ever. The astilbe, goatsbeard and lilies are doing well, and the checker mallow and the echinacea are so huge, they are almost taller than me! I had bought an elderberry plant a couple of Mother's Days ago and it almost died that first summer, but now it is flourishing in it's new location, and it has almost doubled in size since spring! I get so excited when I find a place that a certain plant seems to love.

It rained a lot this morning, but I went out because the weeds were getting out of hand in the lawn and the flower beds. I sometimes wonder what the perfectly manicured neighbours think! We haven't mulched the flowerbeds in a few years, and there are lots of bare patches, which weeds just love. I figured I had a week's worth of weeding to do, but once I got started, it wasn't so bad.

The funny thing is that when I'm weeding, and I'm starting to get tired, or I figure the kids need me, I keep telling myself that I'll just pull one more weed, or one more handful, or I just do this one more little section. It seems I can't stop myself! I just keep going and going. Then, when I think I've stopped for the day, I'll start collecting the weeds into the compost bags, and the next thing you know, I'll see a bunch more weeds and I just pick one more, then another.

I think it's because weeding is rhythmic and therapeutic, but it doesn't do much for the look of my fingernails!A Canada Day page I made a few days ago

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To Market to Market, to buy a fat pig

Saturday, July 12, 2008

We didn't buy a fat pig, but we did get some wild boar pepperettes, locally grown and produced, at the market today. We also got some organic radishes, beets, carrots, tomatoes, and bunch of organic, grass-fed meats and sausages. I couldn't resist the bumbleberry pie with the crumble topping. I got some raw ewe's milk blue cheese (delish!) and 100% natural lip gloss. It's made of beeswax, honey, sunflower oil and vanilla. I don't have to feel bad about using this on the kids because they can eat it and it won't harm them.Multi-coloured radishes, and multi-coloured carrots
We had a delicious supper of BBQ'd steak, roasted potatoes and fresh radish and beet greens, along with some spinach and lettuce from our garden, topped with a spicy little dressing I whipped up, some cherry tomatoes from the market, and sprinkled with a little blue cheese. It was SO good!

The last three times I went to the market, I ran into someone I knew. Come to think of it, all three women were from my hockey team. Is that weird, or what?

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Photoshop Friday

Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm always glad when a new Photoshop Friday comes out on Jessica Sprague's blog. I use her tips frequently and can always find inspiration.

Today, she posted a technique she calls Photo ShaZAM. I tried it out on these photos. The first is the un-retouched photo and the second is using the ShaZAM. Which is better?

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Favourite Children's Book

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My favourite children's book so far has been Cat's Pajama's by Thacher Hurd. There are cool, jazz-playing cats in nighttime scenes and the words of the story are so catchy, it is hard to read it without using a beat poet/rap voice. It is hard to believe that I do not own this book. I have it mostly memorized from the times we have borrowed it from the library.

The reason I'm writing this is that we were at the Storytime in the Park at the local library today and the theme was skunks. The librarian read a book that was so compelling, I immediately reserved it and can't wait to read it again myself! It was Skunks! by David T. Greenberg and illustrated by Lynn Musinger. I don't think it is better than Cat's Pajamas, but I was excited by this book.Sweet Pea posing on the grass while waiting for storytime to startPrecious participating in storytimeMr. Boy watching the librarian set up.

Tomorrow we're off to visit my grandmother in the morning so everyone is freshly bathed and I plan to dress the girls in dresses tomorrow, just to up the cuteness factor even more.

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Night and Day

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Two contractors were here yesterday and they couldn't have been more different.

The first contractor asked us our budget. He asked us about our concerns for the basement. He carefully looked all of the plumbing, walls, crawlspace, etc. He explained all the options for flooring, from tile, cork, wood to marmoleum. He told us one kind of insulation (recycled cotton denim) was out of our price range, but we could use Roxul. He also told us that all of the work they do it LEED platinum standard. He said he'd take away our basic floor plan that we'd developed and tell us which parts of it we could do within our budget and which projects could be done in future years. He really listened to us and we had a good rapport with him.

The second contractor was the one who had won Renovator of the Year for our city. He pointed out some of the work he would have to do with the plumbing, flooring and the ceiling. We asked him about low or no-VOC products and he said he could use low-VOC paint. He planned to use all conventional products such as pink fibreglass, plywood subfloor and standard hardwood. He said he was willing to use healthier products if we told him which ones we wanted. We told him we wanted a drop, acoustic-tile ceiling and he said he would do a drywall ceiling. He said he would put in a hardwood floor, even though we didn't tell him that is what we wanted. It was almost comical the way I said one thing and he ignored it or told me how he would do things. He gave me a price, about twice our budget and asked how well that fit into what we were thinking of spending. I almost choked and thought it was an obscene amount of money.

We'll be hearing back from both contractors next week with their detailed estimates and their plans for the basement. I'm really looking forward to that.

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Favourite Household Tip #1

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

You'll have to wait until tomorrow to hear how it went with the contractors, but for now, I'll share my first in a series of Favourite Household tips. Neither of these apply if you have a dog. Good for you that you don't have to get down on your hands and knees 5 times a day cleaning up after meals and snacks. I might get a dog for just that reason.

The following items are better left on the hardwood, tile or linoleum floor after snack/mealtime as they dry out and get easier to sweep after after a few hours;
a. cheese
b. pasta
c. playdough

The following items are better cleaned up right away;
a. sugary things like juice
b. milk, especially the splash marks on chair and table legs
c. large food items that your toddler might choose to eat as an unauthorized between-meal snack.

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Doughy

Monday, July 7, 2008

The kids wanted to play with play dough this morning and they had so much fun. I got out the read rolling pin and they had fun making their dough "flat as a pancake". Sweet Pea wanted to make all of the creations from the play dough booklet that came with the new containers I bought a few weeks back. She made the rainbow, starfish, butterfly and cat.

Mr. Boy hard at workPrecious asking for helpSweet Pea's star fish

After the dough, DH, working from home, agreed to watch the older two so I could do the groceries with just Precious. We went to Costco and were in and out in 30 minutes, with the damage being $270! I had to go today to pick up the photos I had printed for the contractor. They're all scans of magazines with rooms that DH and I like. I realized after I had sent them that it is probably illegal for me to copy them!

So the first contractor is coming in the morning at 9:00 and the second contractor is coming at 1:00. The second guy is not a 'green' contractor, but he did win Renovator of the Year for the city last year for renovations from $40K - $100K. Hopefully he will consider our little job! I told him I was interested in using low or no-VOC products such as flooring and paint and I'll spring it on him that I also want no or low-VOC insulation when he shows up tomorrow.

Now I'm off to research RAW and how I can use it for my photos. I have a feeling I'll be upgrading to Photoshop proper once I'm through. I use Elements 5.0 now.

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Music Festival "Widow"

Sunday, July 6, 2008

DH is off for the foreseeable future (until July 13th anyway) at the local music festival. I think it is so incredible how much he is into music and how it moves him and how he couldn't live without it. He is so giddy when he comes home from a concert, and I love that. I spent about 2 hours cleaning the basement this morning. Here DH is playing Mr. Boy's guitar that he made. I took this photo so I could recycle the guitar rather than keep it in the basement. It felt so good to get rid of reams of art projects and toys. DH drove to the charity store with the toys before any of the kids could notice them missing.

Since DH is so busy in the next little while, I'm so busy in the next little while. I had a soccer game tonight, so my brother babysat the kids for me. He hasn't babysat that much lately, and Precious conned him into lying down with her to help her fall asleep. Anyone know any single ladies? My brother's a real catch!

Last night, I was glad that SAHD Geoff called to invite us for a swim and some belated Canada Day fireworks. DH was out and I didn't want to park the kids in front of the t.v. All three kids ended up swimming and hot tubbing a bit and we all watched Geoff's fireworks in broad daylight, around 8. There was just no way around that since none of the kids can stay up past dark in the summertime. I didn't get the kids to bed until about 9, but it was so much fun and I think I even met Geoff's girlfriend!

Yesterday, I had the kiddie pool set up and we all took a turn cooling off.

Here is Sweet Pea in the pool.

My dad had his knee replacement on Monday, the 30th of June, and here is is killing time at my place until I 'discharge' him. I just wanted to make sure he could get around the do things on his own before he went home. He's all by himself and he tends to overdo it at the best of times. We poked a bit of fun at him for the stockings he had to wear, but he really did a good job and powered through with the exercises and the rehab.

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Does my basement look better all of a sudden?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

When people are selling their house, they tend to finish up those odd jobs that have been hanging around, and also clean, organize, get rid of stuff and generally spruce things up. Why do we do these things for others but not for ourselves? I remember telling DH that we should have done it 'ages ago' when we got our old house ready to sell 5 1/2 years ago.

The same situation is playing itself out in our basement right now. We've been in our house almost 5 years and the basement has been a dumping ground for EVERYTHING! We had toys upon toys upon toys, 5 sets of hockey equipment, all the china and crystal that will go in the dining room china cabinet we don't own yet, sewing projects to last me five years, and two over-sized boxes of boxes, among other things. That's right, two large boxes of BOXES! Everytime we recieved a package or opened a gift that was in a box, I would hoard the box away into my 'wrapping' area which was just two large boxes that once held car seats. Why did everything end up in the basement? Well, we had lots of space and no reason to deal with the clutter. Until now.

I'm proud to say I recycled all of the boxes and kept only the nice ribbons, bows, and the reusable gift bags. I've got enough of those to last a lifetime. DH still thinks I should get rid of some, but I'll work on paring down some of the other stuff before I dive back into this particular box.

DH made two trips today; one to the local charity store to donate toys and old clothes, and the other to the local technology recycler, who works out of his home and strips old electronics for their parts and metal and who 'freecycles' the rest. I am so glad to be rid of all the old computer monitors, cables, video game system, 19" t.v., and the old VCR.

The basement is actually starting to look - dare I say it? - good! Just in time too, as the first contractor is coming over on Tuesday to go over a plan, estimate, and some design ideas with us. I am really excited about this particular contractor because his specialty is 'green' renovations. I know, everyone claims to be green now, but this guy is the genuine article. He even has a store-front where he sells no-VOC paint, caulking, recycled glass tiles, reclaimed wood furniture, etc., etc. The possibilities are really exciting. DH is a little concerned it will cost too much, but I am optimistic (naïve?) that it won't.

I'm sitting here with the laptop enjoying the hot summer weather, which has finally arrived. I was complaining about the rain before I heard that we had had 22 straight days of rain. That is all behind us now and it is a gorgeous day!

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Late Nights = Creativity

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I played hockey, and had a pretty good game. Rather than go out and pay for beer and make small talk with my teammates, I decided to come home and enjoy a Lakeport Light and scrapbook a bit while I wait for my body to get sleepy. I made the other side of the two-page spread for the page I made a while back. It is a scraplift of Christine's page which was a layered template by Katie Pertiet at Designer Digitals. There was nothing too complicated on this page, but I did stick to a neutral colour scheme, which is challenging for me, and I used a soft light layered effect with the two background papers.I love the summer because there's nothing on t.v. and when I can't sleep (after hockey is the ONLY time that would ever happen) I catch up on computer stuff or scrapbook!

The quality of my photos is so much better with my new camera that I only want to scrapbook recent stuff so I can use the good pictures.

I signed the contract with the window guy today so we'll have all new windows by the end of the summer. I also talked to one of the contractors for the basement reno and I'm really excited to get them in here next week. I hope they don't dash my dreams vis-à-vis my budget and the design elements I want! I hope they can manage all the needs we have a get me excited about the design possibilites.

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Summer Vacation

It's only the 2nd, and the only thing we have planned between now and the 12th of July is a "storytime in the park", put on by the local library on Tuesday mornings. It seems a bit daunting to think that we have nothing to do between now and then. Since I stopped taking the herbs last week, I have noticed my energy dropping back down and the idea of planning any activities just tires me out. My dad is still in the hospital so instead of having a nap before my 10:00 p.m. hockey game tonight, I'll visit him instead. That'll ensure that I'm good and tired when tomorrow morning rolls around!

I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself. My energy is very low. DH bought a pass for the local blues festival that starts tomorrow. It'll be great fun for him and I know how excited he is. He'll be out a lot and if there's one thing I miss about being a SAHM, it's the adult time. So I will miss DH!

So, in summary, life a bit blah right now, and I am a bit blah right now. Blah, blah, blah.

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Happy Canada Day

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

DH had the day off work, with it being Canada Day and all, and it was nice to be able to relax a bit. The local Canada Day road race was going by our house right after 8 a.m., so the kids went out and drew arrows and things like 'faster!' on the road in front of our house. The adults stood around and drank coffee (or in my case, tea with a straw) and compared cameras and other stuff. My neighbour just bought the Canon Rebel Xsi and my other neighbour has the Nikon D80.

Mel's Canada Day strawberry flag cake

In the afternoon, we went to Ron and Mel's for a Canada Day party. There we two other families there, and Mel's parents were visiting from Winnipeg. The kids had a blast and ate their weight in chips and swam in the pool and played with the kid cars and on the play structure. Mel and Ron's is more or less kid heaven.
Daddy and Sweet Pea on the deck

Mr. Boy doing Kiddie Karaoke with Precious

I was a bit out of my element because I only knew a handful of people at the party, but everyone was so friendly. I only made one 'faux pas' when everyone was complaining about the price of gas and I told them that my friend had just traded in a diesel VW Golf for a Jeep Sahara. I told them I thought it was foolish based on the fact that she lives out in the country. When we were leaving, what did I notice parked in the driveway, but a Jeep Sahara, belonging to one of the families at the party! And guess where they live? That's right - the country. That was a bit embarrassing, especially since Chris was teasing me about it on the way home.

We didn't stay up late enough for the fireworks, but we did hear them as we were falling asleep.

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